Meat Chickens Have Arrived

Back when Hubby, The Kid and I were thinking about how many meat chickens to order, we thought we’d settled on 50, like last year.
And then, something picked at me and told me that wasn’t enough.
I’ve been alive long enough to have learned to listen when my gut says something to me.
So I ordered 75 of the little nuggets.
And 10 white turkeys.

I figured with the success of our Narragansetts from last year, I oughta be able to get 10 whites to Freezer Camp size.
I sure the eff hope so, because things have not been going well with my Narragansetts I hatched this year.
My excitement over 16?
Dashed, because we’re down to 5…and may very well lose them as well.
Fuck.

Y’see, turkeys are very delicate.
Yep, even heritage breeds. Even though the heritage breeds are tougher than the whites, they’re still delicate little things.
As we were awaiting hatching, we evicted the ducks from the brooder, gave it a deep cleaning, sprayed it down with cleaner, thinking we were good to go with our poults.
Welp, as it turns out, there was mold starting in the floor.
I say again…fuck.

Turkeys are susceptible to mold.
Even when us humans don’t know it’s there, have no fucking clue it’s there…turkeys will be doing great, bopping around like crazy birbs, eating, drinking, pooping beautiful turkey poops…and then just drop dead.
Because their little lungs are that effing delicate.

So after the loss of 6 we thought “huh, this is more than just weak poults not making it”.
Hubby and The Kid whipped off another brooder like the last one I showed y’all…metal floor for ease of cleaning, fresh new walls, lid that’s easy to lift for air movement and a door for easy access that doesn’t let heat out…
Then, The Kid and I put fresh straw in, and I crawled into the old brooder to catch our remaining poults.
That’s when I found the mold…under the straw, the wood was wet. And there were small fuzzy spots.
Fuck.

Now we have the last 5 in the newly built brooder, nothing is in the old brooder until it gets torn apart and maybe refurbished…but it might just be scrap now.
Fuck.
I mean, we can’t really complain about it, if we have to scrap it.
The brooder was here when we bought the place, it’s successfully raised near onto 500 hundred birds…but I hate that I found out this way that there was a problem with it.
I hate that it’s costing little lives.
😥
That’s what kills me.

If you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see the size of the white turkeys, compared to my Narragansetts.
The whites are a day old in the picture, the heritage birds over a week!
They’re all getting along beautifully.
I’m actually hoping that the whites will give the heritages enough impetus to keep fighting to stay alive.
There’s really no treatment for mold exposure.
Fuck.
But I’ve got them on high protein feed, clean water with vitamins, a bit of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar twice a day, clean fresh bedding every other day, and today they got some mashed up hard boiled eggs with the vitamins mixed in.
I’m trying my best to make the best of a shitty situation.
While hoping that my turkey hens start laying soon…because goodness knows, the boys are doing their jobs.
The very second I see eggs from the hens, I’m whisking them off to be incubated!

I’m going to bet dollars to donuts, that the second my incubators are full and working on chickens again, that’s when those turkeys will start popping out eggs…and then I’ll end up having to buy a 3rd incubator just for turkey eggs.
😂😂😂
Because that’s my life…chaotic, crazy, and always learning.

Transplanting Seedlings

I’m quite excited that my peppers are at the point of needing to be transplanted.
This is exciting to me because, even though there is snow on the ground outside, the garden will soon enough be filled and growing.
The problem is always those seedling trays.
What on Earth is with them blowing holes in the corners all. the. time?
I get it, they’re not the sturdiest of plastics, but why doesn’t someone make a sturdy, hard plastic version?
I have said I would happily pay more so that I don’t have to re-buy them every season or two.

Yesterday, in our nearest small town, Hubby went into the hardware store to see if they had seedling trays.
Well, they did, but for some strange and ridiculous reason, they had drainage holes in the bottom.
Um, does the manufacturer (in this case Jiffy) even understand the usage of the trays?
*sigh*

But, The Kid and Hubby came up with a fix, so that I can get the peppers transplanted:

Yeah, that’s a drawer.
And that’s gonna work out juuuuuuuust fine!
But this is what manufacturers need to do.
Make us trays that are rugged and sturdy like this drawer.
We serious gardeners would *happily* pay more for them.
And let’s be honest, not having to ditch those flimsy ones every year or two and replace them would be a helluva lot better for the environment.

In other news, tomorrow is day 25 for the turkey eggs.
Tomorrow we take the turners out of the incubator, raise the humidity and wait…anxiously, for the turkey chirp, chirp, chirps to begin!
Still haven’t seen any eggs from the girls in the turkey yard, but that’s okay.
Last night I had to carry 3 of them back to the yard because they thought they should escape and go to bed with the chickens.
🤦‍♀️🙄
Um, no my poor silly birbs.
What I did notice is that they have the tell tale signs on the backs of their heads that Oscar and/or Dingus are doing their job(s). So hopefully soon, but even if not until next year, that’s okay too.
Good breeding stock is worth the time and investment, and these guys are quality birbs.

New Brooder

Okay, so I kinda have the image issue figured out. 
I can embed Instagram posts right into blog posts, so that you don't have to click away from the blog to see images.
And, you can click the arrows on the sides of the images to scroll through multi-image posts. 
Whew. 
Took a bit to figure it out, and it's a fair bit annoying 🤦‍♀️🙄 but at least I can share pictures again. 
Until the next grand WordPress upgrade. 
GAH!!
Why won't they listen that the block editor is a clunky clump of excrement that is a pain in the arse to use?

Anyways, this is the new brooder Hubby built for me.
Since we have so many chicks hatching, plus 75 meat chickens and 10 meat turkeys coming in a couple of weeks….and…turkey eggs in the big incubator…
Welp, I need somewhere to put aaaaaaaallllllll the bebes until they’re big enough to integrate into the main flock…and we’ve been gathering (okay, *Hubby* has been gathering) free building materials from places that get rid of their wood pallets.
This brooder?
All recycled wood.
I’ve got some left over paint from when we were getting the house in the city ready to sell, so I’ll slap a coat of that on it…once the 2 broody hens in there hatch out their eggs.
😂😂😂

So y’know, local-to-me folks…if you’ve got any paint sitting around that you’re never going to use and don’t want it, we’d be happy to take it off your hands and recycle it!

I couldn’t help myself…

This is one of the hens who has been fighting me for the past week over collecting eggs.
She sooooo wants to sit a nest.
So when Hubby finished the brooder, I thought “why not?”
I collected 10 eggs, put them in the basket and put her in there.
Yesterday we added another 8 eggs and another broody hen.
I don’t need this brooder for another 3 weeks yet, so why not let a couple hens do the job?
😉

My 2nd hatch was 24 eggs set.
22 eggs were actually fertile.
4 eggs were quitters…somewhere in the incubating process they just stopped developing.
18 live hatches.
1 lost in the overnight the first night.
So 17 total, with 2 having to be helped after they pipped and couldn’t get out of the egg.
So far, I have 60 chicks.
With 18 under 2 hens and another 24 set into the small incubator.

If we have nothing else to eat this winter, we will have chicken.
😂😂😂
But my tomatoes are coming up now so I think we’ll have a good year, food wise.
I sure hope so!!

A Little Jaunt

Yesterday was the first day we all left the Farm for errands in just about a year.
It’s been mostly Hubby, sometimes I go with him, but The Kid has 99.99% of the time stayed home.
Yesterday we all went for the drive.

First up we met up with a friend so she could get some delicious farm fresh eggs from my asshole birds.
That was a lovely visit…we hadn’t seen her for more than a year, between life schedules and then this *waves hands* stuff going on…but it was so good to see her. ❤

Then off to see the Lady with the turkey eggs.
Holy smokes, this woman is living the Dream!
Moved from a crowded once country turned citified area to a 1/4 section farm where she can see elk off her deck most mornings. So exciting! She’s a really cool lady, and I’m super happy for her and her family.
And when I found out I could still get turkey eggs from her this year, I jumped at the chance.

DaisyMae Flerkin helps incubate the eggs. Notice the candling light is on…DaisyMae *always* turns that damn light on.

And then from see the Turkey Egg Lady, we went into the big city to get a new well pressure tank.
Our well pump has been coming on every 20 minutes or so…which is not normal and not good.
After posting on Facebook for ideas, we checked/fixed the leaky toilet and the leaky water softener and that didn’t change things. So a friend’s son, who is a plumber and former farm boy, said the next thing is the tank, because it sounds like the bladder has a leak.
To be fair, another friend, who just recently had her pressure tank replaced, said the same thing.
So now we have a new pressure tank, and Hubby (with the assistance of The Kid and I) will set about to replace the leaky one with the new one.
Wish us all luck.

And finally, we were given some more feed seeds.
Beans, and some feed corn.
Pintos, and navy beans.
Those got put into the “we’ll plant these for food for us” pile.
And then there was the bag of feed corn.
Um, yes please!
I don’t actually have to tell y’all why I might want to grow feed corn, do I?
Knowing that I love to do home brewing?
Yeah, so I now have enough feed corn seed to do a very nice plot of corn.
That may or may not become a lovely alcohol in the fall/winter.
😉

Seeds!

And the duck girls have started to lay…we’re taking the eggs away for a bit, just because it’s still chilly at night, but in a few weeks, we’ll leave them for the hens to start to sit, so we can have many, many bebe ducks.
Fingers crossed!
🙂

Chicks and Chickens

I love this time of year.
Spring brings new life on the Farm, and new hope for a prosperous year ahead.

Our first round of eggs has hatched.
I initially set 80 eggs between the 2 incubators.

In the small incubator was all the blue and green eggs I was able to collect before starting.
22 colours and 2 browns.
Of those eggs, we had 20 hatch.
1 died in the shell, and the last 3 weren’t fertile.

Chicks in the small incubator…can you tell who’s going to be the trouble maker in this group?

In the big incubator I set 56 eggs.
1 was tossed due to having cracked in collection…those frozen eggs can really fool you with the cracks sealing back up when thawed.
In total, we had 24 hatch out.
5 of the unhatched were viable.
1 of those died shortly after pipping, the other 4 died in different stages of development.
The last 26 eggs weren’t fertile.

Don’t mind the phone pics…it’s too hard to use Voldemort when the chicks are still int he incubators. 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with 44 little chirp chirps this round.
Considering those eggs were collected during our polar vortex cold snap that darn near snapped us all, any life coming from them is amazing and makes me happy.

Now the small incubator has 24 greens and blues in it, due to hatch in 2 weeks time, while the big one awaits the arrival of turkey eggs sometime next week. 🙂

We’ll keep running the incubators until mid-summer.
Last year my last hatch finished the first week of July, and with excellent Fall weather, we were able to put all the extra roosters in the freezer. Fingers crossed for that kinda luck again!
This year though, I want to keep better track of how many roosters we butcher.
That way I know if I have to up my hatching game next year.
I will say, I am considering a 3rd incubator just for turkeys…though, I have noticed lots of folks will run chicken eggs in an incubator with turkey eggs.
I might try that. We’ll see how my turkey hens do when they start laying…if I get a lot of eggs from them, I might just spend the money for a 3rd.

The current crop of hens is happy as can be with Spring weather too.

Dust bathing…

They sure do make a mess of the lawn.
😂😂😂
This is just outside the gate to their yard…because heaven forbid the jerks stay in their yard and dustbath in there…oh no, that would make too much sense!
And if there’s one thing chickens ain’t got, it’s sense!
😂😂😂

They’re so funny…

😂😂😂

Tired

With the excitement of starting up the incubators for the years comes the forgotten knowledge of what the 3 days of hatching is really like…
Exhausting.
Once the first chirp starts, there’s excitement.
Yay, we’ve got chicks!
But then…as more come out of their shells, the *loud* chirping starts.
And the scrabbling, jim jamming around…at all hours.
Then, throw in Daisy Mae, who has to tell me she can hear the chicks in the incubators.
At 2am.
*sigh*
Yes cat, I am aware that there’s birds chirping in the house.
Quite. Aware.
Thankyouverymuch.

So here we are on day 2 of hatching, running low on sleep, just waiting for tomorrow morning when we can take aaaaaallllll da little birbs out to the brooder and start again.
😂😂😂
And so it will go, every 3 weeks from now until the beginning of July.

This…this is what my face looks like right now…”Can I just get a little quiet time for a nap??!?” 😂😂😂

Wednesday March 10th ~ Day 18

First thing off the hop…fonts are weird on WP this morning.
Maybe it’s just me, but in my posting block page yuckiness (I can’t be the only one who hates the way the new posting system works, can I?) the fonts changed and it’s weird.
I don’t like change.
Especially when it happens without warning.
(Like change often does…😂😂😂)

Also, today is day 18 with the incubators.
Today I take out the turners, bump up the humidity and wait for the sweet sound of “chirp, chirp, chirp” to start.
By this weekend, we’ll have chicks!
🙂
Tomorrow I’ll start saving eggs for the next round…
I can only run one of them for the next round though, because in 2 weeks I have turkey eggs coming and they need 4 weeks to hatch, compared to chicken’s 3 weeks…I need the turkey eggs to hatch at the same time as the arrival of the white turkey poults.
I’m sure I’ve blathered on about this before…heritage birds of the same species in with meat birds helps the meat birds learn *how to bird* so that the meats are much healthier…as long as they think they are hatchmates.
That is very important, because if they are introduced too far apart, it becomes difficult to integrate them.
There is too much $$$ wrapped up in my turkeys to chance the poults not integrating well.
This is my experience.
Others may have different experiences, but this has worked very well for us.
And so I have to leave one incubator free for the arrival of 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs.
Squeeeee!
😀

Finally, for Wordless Wednesday, my lovely sleeping beauty, my chubby Painted Unicorn, Ruby…

And one just for thought…

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday.

First Week of March

And we’re marching right along.
Heh.
See what I did there?
😂😂😂
I promise, I’m funnier in person.
Or, maybe I’m not.
🤷‍♀️

So I’ve booked 2 dozen turkey hatching eggs for the end of the month.
Why?
Uh….why not?
So I have 2 toms and 5 hens.
The hens should start laying soon…and if their shrieking songs are any indication, it will. be. soon.
But the lady I got the eggs from last year moved far, far away and chances to get eggs from her again this year dwindled…until we found out that she’s still finishing up the relocation of her family (to an amazing property in the bush, surrounded by wildlife, huge areas to forage and so much space for growing her own food…I’m teensy bit jealous. 😉 ) so is back in the area once a week for a few more months.
So I jumped at the chance for a couple dozen eggs, since she had added new genetics last year, meaning I could hatch and run the new hatches with my current turkeys.
Hopefully, by the time we get eggs from her, my hens will have popped a few eggs out so I can add those to the incubator too.
I know the boys are dancing up a storm and there has been some turkey lovin’ goin’ on.
😂😂😂

We’re half way through the incubation for the first 80 chicken eggs.
So. Exciting!
I get excited about them hatching until the work of taking care of the chicks comes along.
😂😂😂
I’m a bit like a little kid like that.
But this is what we have to do to make sure there’s food in the freezer for next winter.
I mean holy crap, it’s not even spring and I’m already planning for winter!

And like every other year, thoughts move towards “what else can I grow”.
We have enjoyed having pigs for the summer…well, until these last ones.
Those effers were scary. 😳
And I’m not one to be scared by animals.
But watching them hunt chickens, stalk the cats and a time or two stalk Hubby, well…as much as I want pigs again, they have to be manageable for The Kid and I.
So we’re thinking potbellies.
Smaller, easier to handle, and if we get a boar and 2 sows, a renewable resource.
😉
We’ll try them out and see how they work for us.

LemonChicken enjoys the droppings off the hay bales.

The weather is warming up and the chickens are wandering around the yard again.
No matter how hard I try, those dang birds just won’t stay in their yard!
But they have fun picking through the bits of hay that fall all winter when we feed the Merry Mares.
And they find any voles that might be coming out into the sunshine.
Plus they steal cat food.
Because chickens is jerks.

the mares mooning me under the full moon…

The northern lights have been crazy active!
I keep trying to go out a photograph them, but I really don’t think my heart is in it.
When trying to take pictures, I don’t get to enjoy them as much.
I’ve just been enjoying my glass of whiskey and watching the lights.
In a world gone mad, it’s been a pleasure to enjoy the magic of their dancing with a fine sipping whiskey in hand and cats in my lap…
Because I can’t sit anywhere without cats in my lap. I ain’t complaining about that though…I do love a feline lap warmer. 😉
Last night it was Max, Trouble, Xena and Coal all vying for who got to sit in my lap.
4 cats don’t fit so well, no matter how hard they try.
😂😂😂

My big chubby monkey…
Daphne…because she’s hard to photograph, and y’all don’t get to see enough of her. 🙂

It’s That Time Of Year

Oh boy oh boy…
I’m soooooo itchy to get things going!
The only thing keeping me from firing up the incubators is the darn cold.
*Still* under an extreme cold watch.
It’s been 10 days straight.
That’s just crazy.
Hopefully tonight it’ll end…tomorrow?
Soon. It’s gotta end soon.

But here I’m thinking about ordering my meat chicks.
In fact, this week I have to buy layer feed again.
With this cold, the birbs are blowing through feed like crazy.
Like.
Crazy.
3 25kg bags typically go 2 1/2-3 weeks.
Pfft.
I think we’re at a week and a half, and we’re gonna need for this weekend.
So, yeah…effing cold.
When I place my next feed order, I’ll order my meat chickens and 10 white turkeys.
Now that I have a better grasp on raising turkeys, I figure I should be able to raise the whites.
Hopefully.
Looking forward to putting a whole bunch of turkey into the freezer.
🤤🤤🤤

And once the order goes in, Hubby has his orders for building.
We need a whole separate brooder for turkeys.
The biggest thing we did wrong last year was not keep them in the brooder with high protein feed longer.
My Narragansett crew did ah-mazing staying in the brooder for almost 4 months before getting outdoor time.
And I tell you, they are hardy af!
This cold snap, they’ve been out doing turkey races over the snow drifts like maniacs!
So hopefully they breed and lay like nuts come spring time, because we need more of them. 😉
But whites are a raise for meat, short season bird only.
So they’ll spend a good long time in the brooder, then get some outdoor free ranging time away from chickens before going to Freezer Camp.
And we can’t have them tying up the brooder that cycles chicken chicks through it throughout the summer…which means building work for Hubby…well, all of us, really.

Then we needs a shelter in the old pig yard for ducks.
We’re changing that yard from pigs to the ducks full time.
We’ll rip out the pallet fence, replace it with stucco wire, and put up some windbreak boards as well.
We’re looking at making it the year round duck yard, so we have to account for the snow that blows in there.
To go with the new shelter (that we’ll be able to lock ducks in at ight to protect them from coyotes) we’re planning on a few broody boxes…that can also be closed up at night to protect broody ducks and their eggs from predators.
This is the design I’m thinking about:

Image shamelessly stolen from Google.

I want to make those fronts removable though, so that once ducklings hatch, Mama Ducks can take them out and teach them all the things bebes need to be taught.
But those fronts would be easy to close up to protect everyone too…

And it’s almost time to start pepper seeds.
I just need a bag (or two) of potting soil to get going.
Peppers take longer than tomatoes to start, so they’ll be going in the next week.
Than ground cherries.
If the damn things will ever germinate for me.
🙄
They are sooooo tasty, and supposed to be super prolific. But I can’t get even 1 seed to start.
Stupid things.
I’ll try again, because I have the seeds, but I might through them in the garden and see if they’ll volunteer if nothing happens indoors.

And that’s where we’re at.
I’m itching to get busy, but it’s not quite time, and we’re not quite ready.
Sooooooooon, though.
Very, very soon.
🙂

Ruby says this cold snap is equine excrement. I agree.